Have Celtic lost the chance to sign Ikechi Anya following Watford’s managerial appointment?

Watford Vicarage Road

Celtic have long been linked with making a move for Watford’s Ikechi Anya.

Anya, a star for Scotland and fan favourite at Watford, has been a transfer target for Celtic since the beginning of last season, and the Mail has claimed they want to make a £2 million offer for him.

His pace and attacking threat have been proven many times whilst playing for Scotland, and although utilised in a more defensive position with the Hornets, his ability to get up and down the pitch with ease has endeared him to fans.

During the 2014/15 season, he became something of a squad player, rather than the regular he was under Gianfranco Zola, with Slavisa Jokanovic favouring a 4-4-2 diamond midfield formation, rather than the wing-back based 3-5-2 of Zola’s reign.

This means that the 27-year-old struggled to find a position for himself in the team, being too attacking to play as a natural full-back, and not able to fill in at central midfield - despite it being attempted on many occasions.

With just 12 months left on his contract, it could be suggested that he would leave the club if not guaranteed first-team football - but a change in manager has potentially but an end to any deal with Celtic, with Anya’s playing chances seemingly set to increase.

Despite promotion to the Premier League, Watford could not agree a new contract with Slavisa Jokanovic, who left the club to sign with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Wage demands were behind the failed discussions, but the Hornets completed something of a coup to agree a deal with Quique Sanchez Flores - winner of the 2010 Europa League and highly-rated in his homeland of Spain.

His preferred system is a 4-2-3-1, with wingers who are increasingly involved in the attacking zones, and Anya is the only real natural wide attacker in the playing squad.

Whilst finding himself utilised in various positions across his stay at Watford so far, Anya will finally get a chance to impress in his natural position, and Flores would rue getting rid of him with no cover brought to the club yet.

Following the managerial change, it would be a surprise to see Anya cast out of the first-team heading into the Premier League season, and Watford’s decision to hire Flores could prevent Celtic signing one of their key transfer targets.

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